Breeding & keeping info

The keeping & breeding of Northern Flat-tail gecko ( UROPLATUS ALLUAUDI ) at BION Terrarium Center

By Dmitri Tkachev & Anna Ivanuna

Uroplatus  allaudi  M2  DSC04183

Biology: Uroplatus alluaudi (Mocquard, 1894) is a medium-sized leaf-tailed gecko with a snout-vent length (SVL) of between 69-79 mm (Glaw and Vences, 2007). The species is found in dense transition forest at medium altitude associated with the sub-humid microclimate. It is described as arboreal, and can occur in anthropogenically disturbed habitat (D'Cruze et al., 2008). The species can be confused with U. guentheri. 

 Ur allaudi  F 1  DSC01860 Ur allaudi  M 2  DSC01856

Distribution: Endemic to Madagascar. Prior to 2006, the species was only known from its type locality and was believed to have a range restricted to the isolated northern rainforest of Montagne d’Ambre.

Uroplatus alluaudi distribution 

Source:  The initial found stock was obtained  at 2012 as the custom’s confiscate. Together with others partners - we launched a joint pilot project  with this species.  In 2015, in the context of BION’s general Uroplatus breeding program,  we formed the found stock  and  began to continue this project independently.  BION Terrarium Center currently has breeding stock: 7 adult males and 7 females as  the first generation(F1) .

The keeping conditions

Enclosure: adult animals are kept in pairs. The terrarium size is 45x45x60 cm.

Uroplatus  allaudi  terr   DSC04190  Uroplatus  allaudi  terr babys   DSC04211

Substrate: the level of small bark pieces, covered with dry leaf-litter (usually, oak).

Decoration: a number of shelters inside the enclosure are provided. We use tree branches with hollows, bamboo tubes, coco shells, etc. Live and plastic plants are used as well. Water bowl should be used on a daily base.

Illumination: full spectrum lamps are used on a daily base.  We provide day length up to 10 hours in breeding season and 6-8 hours in autumn-winter season.

Temperature and heating: day 21-24ºC, night 19-21ºC in summer; day 21-24ºC, night 17-20ºC in winter. The 40 W lamps are used for basking spot, but basking temperature should be not more than 26ºC. During winter season the period of heating is 2-5 hours per day only.

Humidity: 60-80% - both for adults and babies.

Diet:  We feed our Uroplatus alluaudi by Shefordella tartara, Pyralidae sps. and crickets. The  insect’s size is not less than 15 mm for adults and not less than 7 mm for babies. We give 1-2 insects per each feeding to adult lizard 1 or 2 times a week and 3 insects per each feeding to juvenile lizard 2 or 3 times a week.

If the animal has a tendency to obesity (due to low activity), number of feedings should be reduced.

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium powder every second feeding (with insects) and sometimes we use D3. We also use multivitamins once per week.

We offer additional calcium supplements to females after each egg laying  in a liquid form - calcium gluconate or calcium chloride (0.2 ml for one individual in a day, 5 times at all)


Animals become sexually mature at the age of 18 month. Females are larger than males of the same age.

For today (06.04.2016) we   received from our females up to 3 clutches (1-2 eggs in each) during the breeding season (from September to December 2015):

Ur allaudi кладка 29.01.2016 1 

1st female - 3 clutches of 2 eggs

2nd female - 3 clutches of 2 eggs

3rd female - 2 clutches (1 and 2 eggs accordingly)

4th female - 2 clutches of 2 eggs

5th female - 1 clutch (2 egg)

6th female - 1 clutch (2 eggs)

7th-female - 3 clutch (3 eggs) (unfertile)

U.allaudi clutches 

Hibernation: To stimulate breeding in 2016 we provide  mild hibernation  at their cages. Males and females were kept separately( from the beginning of January to mid-February (1.5 months) at temperatures of 20-23ºC during the day and 18-20ºC at night, gradually reducing the temperature and illumination). Feeding: once per week by 1-2 crickets .

Breeding statistics

2015 – we received 15 clutches totally (26 eggs = 22 eggs good + 2 eggs became bad during incubation + 2 eggs unfertile)

2016 – in January  we received first 4 babies in January, and 2 babies in March.

Offsprings 6 babies ( according the last report on 6.04.2016)

The TL (total length) of newborn babies is around 40-50 mm

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The duration of Incubation period  - 74-124 days

 Uroplatus  allaudi   baby DSC04223 Ur allaudi uns  BC DSC03184


Geckos, especially babies are liable to problems with shedding, which may be caused by low humidity or vitamin A deficit. To avoid it, the high humidity at the enclosures is necessary.

Also, in case of problems we spray our animals with solution of vitamin product “Chiktonik” (2-5 times a day, twice a week, with concentration 1 part of  vitamin for 100 parts of water) if any signs of shedding problems are visible.


Despite these species are extremely rare in captivity because of luck of the official quotes for export they could be breed on a regular base in case of proper care and conditions.

As the matter of fact for today BION is one of very few  legal sources of these lizards in captivity.

Useful sources

Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany

Sacha Svatek and Susanna van Duin. 2001. Leaf-tailed geckos – the Genus Uroplatus. Brahmer-Verlag, 161 p. Germany




The keeping & breeding of Costa Rican rainbow stripe galliwasp ( DIPLOGLOSSUS MONOTROPIS ) at BION Terrarium Center

by Dmitri Tkachev & Ivan Neihzko


Diploglossus is a genus of New World diploglossid  lizards, with 19 described species, commonly known as galliwasps. They are diurnal and terrestrial  lizards .

Distribution: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador 

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 Diploglossus monotropis(KUHL, 1820)occurs in regions of rain forest and monsoon rain forest. This species is not common & hard to find in nature because of their life style. 

Source: On January 2016, the breeding group of Diploglossus monotropis in BION includes 3 adult males and 4 females. This group was imported from Panama in December 2013.

Keeping conditions:

Cage: we use glass terrariums  70x50x50 cm for keeping one adult animal or pair. As the matter of fact we keep them separately due to very aggressive character and   keep pairs together only in breeding season.


Substrate: dried leaves, fine bark, sphagnum moss, coconut copra or chips in one mixture.  The substrate level should be not less than 10-12 cm  for comfortable digging & security of these lizards. According to our observations, they are active only at early morning and at the dusk. 


Equipment: large water bowl is provided because these lizards like to stay in water. Few shelters inside the enclosure are provided. We are using the pieces of bark and bamboo tubes. In breeding season we use moist chamber (box with damp moss)  for female’s cages.

Illumination: full spectrum lamps are provided.  8 hours of artificial light   from August till April and up to 14 hours of  light   from April till August.

Temperature and heating: we don’t use the additional heating and keep the day temperature at  26-28ºC &  22-24ºC at night.

Humidity: we keep 50-60% at the enclosure and 70-80 % of the soil. We provide intensive spraying of the substrate on a regular base.

Diet: feeding 2-3 times per week. We usually propose  crickets and locusts by 5-6 feeding objects for each adult animal. Also  1 pink mouse (one week old) per each animal 1-2 times per month.  

During the molting (10-14 days) lizards do not eat at all.

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium with D3 and vitamins powder every second feeding (with insects).


Animals become sexually mature presumably at the age of 2-4 years old.


2014 year:

No hibernation at all. On 15.04.2014 we put 3 pairs together . The courtship began almost immediately; the mating lasted over 4.5 hours. The male keeps the female behind the head ( several copulations in each case took place). On 27.05.2014 we received the clutch of 5 unfertile eggs from one female. She laid clutch under the water bowl. Pregnancy duration was 42 days.

2015 year:

Hibernation started on 10.11.2014 from the gradual reduction of temperature and day length. Food was offered. From 20.11.2014 illumination was switched off. Food wasn’t offered from this date. Temperature  was 26ºC, humidity - 70-80 %.

19.02.2015 females were put together with males. Day length -  12 hours.

10.03.2015 – matingof group #3.

25.04.2015 – mating of group #1. The male keeps the female behind the head during long time (5-8 hours). Copulations last for 20-30 minutes. Between copulations (1-1.5 hours) the male don’t release the head of the female. 3-5 copulations happened in such way. 

We didn’t observe the mating of groups #2 and #4.

26.05.2015 – we received clutch (4 unfertile eggs) from female #2. She laid under piece of bark in the soil (sphagnum moss & coconut copra).

20.06.2015 – we received clutch (4 unfertile eggs) from female #4.

26.06.2015 – we received clutch (3 unfertile eggs) from female #3.

17.07.2015 – we received clutch (3 unfertile eggs) from female #1.


Breeding statistics:

2014 – we received 1 clutch from 1 female  (5 unfertile eggs)

2015 – we received 4 clutches from 4 females (14 unfertile eggs all together)

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Conclusion: For the moment we are informed about only one positive result of D.monotropis  breeding at the zoo in U.S.A and one in outdoors enclosure in Costa Rica. All information concerning captive breeding of these species is appreciated.


Rickets (deformation and softening of bones) could be a problem in case of wrong care. To prevent - the exposure of UV should be increased (“hard” UV over than 280nm during 2 minutes every other day until improvement). Also dose of calcium should be increased (calcium gluconate in liquid should be offered orally by 2-3 drops from 2 ml syringe every other day until the situation improves.

Useful sources:



The keeping & breeding of Uroplatus guentheri  at BION Terrarium Center:  keeping, breeding and some notable facts

by Anna Ivanuna, Lilya Krivosheeva & Anna Golenko

Uroplatus guentheri, or Gunter’s Flat-tail Gecko, is a nocturnal medium-sized species, which lives in dry deciduous forest with rainless summer and extremely wet winter season. In their natural conditions winter lasts from March-April to October-November. Animals were recorded from western part of Madagascar (as an endemic species) at elevations between 30 and 120 meters above the sea level. The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 3,554 km². These geckos have been observed at height 1-6 metreson the bushes and low trees.

640px-Uroplatus guentheri distributionUroplatus guentheri reach alength 150 mm(including tail). They are colored in shades of brown and grey, and may also have black spots. The drawing on the belly side is used for individual identification of specimens because this drawing does not change with the years. However, day and night coloration of each animal can be different. The sex difference is visible in adult animals: the males have enlarged hemipene bulbs.

As all members of the genus, U.  guentheri is insectivorous species (but can also consume other small invertebrates) with dusk and night activity.

Uroplatus guentheri is protected by CITES II/B, so keeping and breeding of captive-bred individuals is possible with due paperwork only

BION Terrarium Center currently(for September 2015) has 3 adult males and 3 females, a group of juveniles and some eggs on incubation. We provide breeding project with this species, according with our general Uroplatus breeding programm.


The founder stock was legally imported as w.c. from Madagascar.

The typical enclosure conditions

Enclosure: adult animals can feel well keeping in pairs or in groups of 1 male with 2 females. The terrarium size  is 450x450x600 mm. Two males, if put together, may fight.

Substrate: 4-7 cm of small bark pieces, covered with dry leaf-litter (usually, oak).

Decoration: a  number of shelters inside the enclosure are recommended. You can use tree branches with hollows, bamboo tubes, coco shells, etc. Live and plastic plants are recommended. Water bowl should be used on a daily base.

Illumination: full spectrum lamp is necessary for all age individuals. Day length should be 9 hours in summer and 7 hours in winter season.

Temperature and heating: day 24-26º C, night 19-23º C in summer; day 22-26º C, night 16-18º C in winter. The 40 W lamps can be used for basking spot, if a general temperature is too low.

Humidity: 70-90% in winter (rainy season, 2-3 spraying a day), 60% in summer (soft dry season, 1 spraying a day). During 2-3 weeks in summer we recommend to spray animals only once per 2-3 days, and in combination with 26º C day temperature it makes the imitation of natural dry season.

Diet: U.  guentheri can feed on different insects. We usually propose them Shefordella tartara, locust larvae (3 cm) and crickets (1,5 cm). We give 2-3 insects per each lizard 1 or 2 times a week (depending on the health of animal, to avoid fatness).

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium powder with feed once or twice per month, and lumb calcium in dishes is always available. Gravid females receive more calcium powder. Also, we give vitamin powder 1 or 2 times a month.

Hibernation: dry summer and chilly winter seasons, see above.


Fatness is the main health problem for our animals. Keeping this in mind a bland diet is the only technology we practice. 


Animals become sexually mature at the age of 12-18 month.

Breeding season falls on April-September. One female usually makes 1-2 clutches a year, laying 1-2 spherical eggs in leaf-litter every time.

Temperature of incubation: 22-24º C during day, 22-24º C at night.

Humidity for incubation: 70-80% (a drop of water should appear on the surface of substrate – vermiculite – after pressing it).

Incubation period takes 100-110 days.


We recommend keeping babies in glass terrariums 350x300x350 mm, and not less. Group of 2-3 juveniles could be settled together.

Paper towels are preferable as a substrate. Lighting, heating, temperature and decoration are generally similar to adult’s enclosures, but cooler and more humid.

Babies need spraying 2-3 times a day ( the level of humidity about 70%).

The first feed are crickets and Shefordella tartara larvae (0,5 cm) 3 times per week (3-4 insects for each gecko). Calcium should be proposed with every feeding. Be careful to prevent fatness.

At the age of 10 month young animals can be sexed.


Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany 

Sacha Svatek and Susanna van Duin. 2001. Leaf-tailed geckos – the Genus Uroplatus. Brahmer-Verlag, 161 p. Germany

References and useful links

Phrynocephalus mystaceus agamas in nature and captivity: some interesting facts and the details of keeping at BION

By Anna Golenko & Lylia Krivosheeva

The Secret Toadhead Agama (Phrynocephalus mystaceus) is one of the biggest species of Phrynocephalus genus, with exciting appearance and notable behavior. Among more than 40 Phrynocephalus species, these animals are  still not common in  collections. Thus, there are a lot of unexplored shades in their biology and ecology. In this article we’ll try to give a general info of P. mystaceus, and we expect that our own observations and colleagues research could afford ground for further study and future protection of these animals in their natural habitat and enclosure conditions.

General information

south-and-central-asia-2Adult individuals of Phrynocephalus  mystaceus are middle-sized lizards ( the total  length  can come up to 24 cm, including tail).  The predominant shade in coloration is  sandy, with light-grey spots and milky-white underside. The end of tail is black, and there  is also a black spot on the throat (males  usually have more frank one). Young agamas  differ with light throat and orange coloration  on the downside of hindfoots and tail. 

Animals have original exterior, with flat nose and big lappets of skin on the corners of chaps (agamas can open these lappets if scared). Skinny combs on the dactyls (to dig into sand) are visible and interesting feature, too.

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The Secret Toadhead Agamas inhabit arid regions of Iran, North Afghanistan, Eastern Caucasus, Kazakhstan and Astrakhan Oblast of Russia. Herpetologists usually recognize 2 subspecies – Phrynocephalus mystaceus mystaceus and P. mystaceus galli, but it is still debatable question.

Toadhead agamas are entirely terrestrial. In summer period, this species prefers barchan sands, covered with thin shrubby or herbaceous vegetation. Sometimes animals form settlements at human-made habitats, like environs of roads. Wintering (typically, from November to February) takes place mostly on the slops of barchans, where agamas dig up single burrows about 80-100 cm long with the moist chamber in margins and winter temperature about 5-12º C. By the way, these burrows are often used as shelters for young individuals in summer, as adults just dig themselves into sand at night, in rainy weather or in the event of danger.

During the warm period (usually from March to October, in exception cases – from the late February to November), animals demonstrate day activity with 2 peaks, which coincide with morning and evening hours. They spend much of time, hunting they prey. The base of ration consists of insects – bugs, locusts, ants, flies etc., as well as spiders.

The cold period of a year is time for hibernation, and agamas become torpid then (about wintering see above).

Social behavior of Toadhead agamas is diverse and dramatic, but generally animals are aggressive, and confrontations are frequently observed between individuals of different age and sex. The most notable ways of communication are opening of lappets of skin on the corners of chaps and rolling tail. The thorough research of P. mystaceus ecology and social behavior is a wide and exciting subject for further studying, in view of deficient state of knowledge in this intellectual field at the moment.

Toadhead agamas are oviparous animals. Mating period takes place from the late April to the beginning of July, and after it females often make (dig into a sand) 2 sequential clutches – in June and in the late July. The number of eggs at the clutch varies from 2 to 6, depending on the age of female. Hatching happens in July and August.

 Juveniles have total length about 30-40 mm and are closely similar to adults, except few differences (see above). They usually settle near hatching places, and attain they individual territories only when 1.5-2 years old (they become nobilous in this age).

Despite of the fact that P. mystaceus have remarkable exterior and comparatively small-scale size, this species is still not common in herpetoculture. Hereafter we will share with our keeping experience, and we hope that it could help in some way.

The Secret Toadhead Agama in BION

Enclosure: we keep adult animals in groups of 1 male with several females, but never place 2 males nearby. The minimal size of enclosure (glass terrarium or plastic container, covered with gauze) is 400x600x400 mm, but generally agamas feel better in possibly big terrariums.

Substrate: bank sand, a layer about 2-3 cm. In the meantime, the deeper layer of a substrate is desirable for breeding.

Decoration: as agamas spend much time in the send layer, they don’t need shelters. Water bowl is not needed, too.

Illumination: full spectrum lamp is absolutely necessary. We use ReptiSun lamps 10 hours every day (except wintering). Day length is about 10 hours, too.

Temperature and heating: day 25-30º C and night 22-24º C in summer period. We also use 60-100 W lamps to construct a basking spot with the temperature of 40-45º C.

Humidity: about 40-50%, with spraying once a day and good ventilation of the enclosure.

Diet: adult animals receive feed every second day. We provide them crickets (4-5 proportioned insects for each lizard), or mealworms (4-5 larvae the same way).

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium+D3 powder with every feeding.

Hibernation: takes only 1 month at the temperature of about 10º C, without spraying and with the water bowl. Small-size plastic containers with breathing holes are useful for wintering.


References and useful links


Furcifer lateralis keeping and breeding at BION Terrarium Center:  more information in the context of our Chameleon species project

by Lilia Krivosheeva, Olga Bilyga & Anna Golenko

Carpet Chameleon, or Jeweled Chameleon (Furcifer lateralis), is one of numerous Madagascar endemic species. It inhabits large territories of the island, excepting the North and Northwestern regions, and can be found at a variety of elevations, from sea-level to 2,000 meters above sea level.


Furcifer lateralis is extremely adaptable and is not much affected by human habitation the way that many other species are. It prefers humid forests, but can also be found in dryer areas, and around human modified landscapes. Though it is considered a forest edge species that is associated with herbaceous vegetation and shrubby grasslands, it has also been recorded inside forest and in altered habitats.


Carpet Chameleonscan reach a maximum length of 17-20 cm, including tail. The males are usually larger, they have green coloration with bright pattern, including bands of white, yellow and orange.Females are smaller and have a wider range of colours. Both sexes have striped throats and lips. As most of Chameleon species, individuals change their colour depending on physiologic and enviromental factors.

Animals are diurnal, insectivorous, rather active and sociable.

Furcifer lateralis has a large estimated distribution of more than 130,000km². This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Catching is restricted to an export quota of 2,000 specimens a year, and there is no distinction made between the subspecies.

We have already got 5 males and 10 females in our adult breeding group, and there are more than 120 juveniles in our laboratory at the moment (September 2015).


The typical enclosure conditions

Enclosure: we keep adult animals separately at the well ventilated cages 60x60x60 cm made from metallic   wire all year round, and place them in couples only for mating.

Substrate: paper sheets, or nothing at all.

Decoration: tree branches, live plants. Feeding dish should be fixed nearby the middle of terrarium height. Water bowl is not needed.

Illumination: full spectrum lamp is necessary for all age individuals. Day length is usually 12 hours, and only 10 hours in winter season.

Temperature and heating: temperature should be about 22-24º C at night and 25-28º C (not more) during daytime, without spot lamps.

Humidity: 50-60% for adults (spraying with warm water 1-2 times a day).

Diet: adult individuals receive different insects (crickets, cockroaches, locusts etc.)  2-3 times per week (5-6 feeding objects for each chameleon). We use meal-warms too – 4 larvae once a week.

Mineral supplements: we give Calcium powder with feed once per 10 days for our adult group, and we use vitamins once a week.

Hibernation: winter season is delicate, we just settle shorter light day (10 hours  lighting).


Juveniles in general demonstrate good survival and growth. However, exceeding humidity for adults can lead to stomatitis and dermatitis. 


Furcifer lateralis females become sexually mature at the age of 5-8 month, but first mating is recommended in the age of 8-9 month (to prevent health problems).

During breeding season we keep chameleons in pairs. Gravid female has visibly dark coloration. 

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Gravidity takes about 5-7 weeks after mating. After it, female bury clutch (usually 8-16 eggs) into a substrate, thus a dish with peat or peat+vermiculite is needed at this time. About 90% of eggs we have got in 2015 were fertile.

Temperature of incubation: 25º C during the first 2 month, 18º C (next 2 month),  and 25º C for 2 month until hatching.

Humidity for incubation: 70-80% (a drop of water should appear on the surface of substrate – vermiculite – after pressing it).

Incubation period takes 7-9 month.



Hatchlings usually are 3-5 cm long, and during the first month they grow up to 5-8 cm.

We keep young animals in the same type cages 60x60x60 cm, with the similar decorations, as the adult individuals. Juveniles can be placed in groups of 3-4 during the first week of life. If keep youngs separately, they grow up faster.

Paper towels are recommended as a substrate.

Babies need spraying 2-3 times a day (humidity about 70%).

The first feed is Drosophila melanogaster (always available for youngs), and we offer Shefordella tartara larvae 3 times per week (7-10 insects for each chameleon). Calcium should be proposed with every feeding.

From the age of 50 days, males and females are sexable. Also 6 month animals become sexually mature.


Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany

Petr Necas. 2004: Chameleons: Nature`s hidden jewels. Edition Chimaira. 380 pp. Frankfurt am Main 

References and useful links